In our quest to uncover America's finest roast beef sandwiches, we embarked on a culinary adventure, meticulously sifting through a multitude of credible sources. Our journey led us through an array of culinary reviews, expert opinions, and local favorites, each a testament to the nation's rich and diverse sandwich culture. Our methodology was straightforward but thorough: we sought out establishments that were not just popular but celebrated for their exceptional roast beef sandwiches. This meant delving into quotes from reputable food critics, analyzing culinary articles, and considering the voices of local patrons who swear by these sandwiches.
But this endeavor was more than just compiling a list; it was an exploration of the diverse and rich flavors that define America's love for this classic dish. From the busy streets of New York City to the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans, each location revealed its unique take on the roast beef sandwich. We discovered sandwiches steeped in tradition, with recipes passed down through generations, and others that were innovative interpretations, pushing the boundaries of what a roast beef sandwich could be. This collection of America's best roast beef sandwiches is thus a celebration of culinary excellence and diversity. It highlights the creativity and passion of chefs and restaurateurs who elevate a simple sandwich into an iconic dish.
John's Deli stands out for its celebrated 'Godfather' sandwich, a beloved creation that has earned accolades from Tasting Table. This iconic sandwich delightfully assembles juicy roast beef, melting mozzarella, and rich, savory gravy. It's not just any sandwich; it's one of the best beef sandwiches in New York, reflecting the deli's commitment to quality and authenticity.
The atmosphere at John's Deli is casual and welcoming, perfect for a quick lunch or a family outing. Known for its unpretentious charm, the restaurant offers a slice of New York's culinary heritage in a relaxed setting. Located in Brooklyn, it's easily accessible for visitors exploring nearby attractions like Coney Island or the New York Aquarium.
John's Deli(718) 998-91992033 Stillwell Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11223
Philippe The Original
Fans revere Philippe the Original, a historic landmark in Los Angeles since 1908, for its iconic French dip roast beef sandwich. The French dip, a culinary masterpiece, features tender, juicy roast beef generously dipped in a rich, savory jus, along with a baked French roll dipped in the same gravy, creating a symphony of flavors that delights the palate.
Conveniently located near Union Station and Chinatown, Philippe the Original is a must-visit for those exploring downtown Los Angeles. Whether you're a local or a tourist, a trip to Philippe's offers not only a delicious meal but also a unique opportunity to partake in a piece of Los Angeles' culinary and cultural heritage.
Philippe the Original(213) 628-37811001 North Alameda St, Los Angeles, California 90012
Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh features an innovative roast beef sandwich made with a unique blend of flavors and textures that captures the essence of the city's inventive spirit, not to mention beef. Known for its unconventional addition of French fries and coleslaw right between the slices of bread, Primanti Bros. has transformed the traditional roast beef sandwich into a signature Pittsburgh experience.
Pricing at Primanti Bros. is reasonable, offering good value for generously portioned sandwiches served on butcher paper rather than plates. This is smart, given the mess these sandwiches create — it helps the servers clean up faster. The restaurant is great for anyone looking for a filling, flavorful meal, especially one that involves beef.
Primanti Bros.(412) 261-15992100 Wharton St, #503, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203
Johnnie's Beef, nestled in the heart of Chicago, is celebrated for its exceptional Italian roast beef sandwich. This local favorite delivers an unforgettable experience with its thinly sliced, expertly seasoned roast beef, generously drenched in a rich, flavorful gravy.
Johnnie's offers great value, serving up top-notch and satisfying sandwiches at reasonable prices. While primarily known for lunch, they also cater to the dinner crowd, offering takeout for those on the move. Either way, the focus here is on the food — a culinary journey through Chicago's rich sandwich culture. A visit to Johnnie's Beef rates as a must for anyone craving an authentic taste of Chicago's famed Italian roast beef sandwich.
Johnnie's Beef(708) 452-60007500 W North Ave, Elmwood Park, Illinois 60707
Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que
Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que stands as a beacon for barbecue connoisseurs. Renowned for its smoked roast beef sandwich, Joe's offers a delectable twist on the classic. The sandwich features smoky, tender beef complemented by its signature barbecue sauce, creating a harmonious blend of flavors that's innovative and incredibly tasty. The eatery has a distinct rustic charm that invites diners into a world where barbecue is not just food but a way of life.
Since most of the Joe's locations don't take reservations, be sure to arrive early so you don't miss out. If the wait is too long or if you don't even want to chance it, takeout service is available, allowing customers to relish Joe's mouthwatering sandwiches on the go.
Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que(913) 722-3366Multiple locations
Attman's Delicatessen, a Baltimore institution with a rich history spanning more than a century, enjoys a reputation as a great destination for sandwich lovers. Famous not only for its corned beef and pastrami but also for its exceptional roast beef sandwiches, Attman's is an old-school Jewish delicatessen owned and operated by three generations of Attmans. There are two Attmans, one in Baltimore and another in Park Potomac, with a third in the works for Harbor Point.
Attman's menu reflects its commitment to serving quality food at affordable prices. The deli is known for its lunch offerings but also serves up satisfying meals throughout the day. No reservations are required, allowing for spontaneous dining experiences in a lively setting.
Attman's Delicatessen(410) 563-26661019 E Lombard St, Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Zingerman's Delicatessen in Ann Arbor distinguishes itself with a gourmet approach to classic sandwiches. The roast beef sandwich, in particular, is a testament to Zingerman's commitment to quality and artisanal preparation, making it a must-try. The atmosphere at Zingerman's is cozy and inviting, with a touch of gourmet sophistication that reflects the food.
Zingerman's offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery options. Given its popularity and the quality of its offerings, it's advisable to check if reservations are needed, especially during peak hours, if you wish to eat in person. Zingerman's also features outdoor seating, perfect for enjoying a sandwich in the pleasant Ann Arbor weather. Note that Zingerman's premium offerings and high-quality ingredients translate to fairly high prices, but you'll get your money's worth and then some.
Zingerman's Delicatessen(734) 663-3354422 Detroit St, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
All hail Mother's Restaurant, a New Orleans culinary icon celebrated for its "Ferdi Special" roast beef po' boy. This legendary eatery combines classic New Orleans flavors with delectably tender roast beef, nestled within traditional po' boy bread. The result? A sandwich that not only satisfies the appetite but also embodies the New Orleans food scene to a T.
The atmosphere at Mother's feels quintessentially New Orleans. Situated near the Mississippi River and the French Quarter, Mother's Restaurant is a convenient destination for those exploring the city's sights and sounds. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the restaurant usually operates on a walk-in basis, so check in advance for any changes in operating hours.
Mother's Restaurant(504) 523-9656401 Poydras St, New Orleans, Louisiana 70130
Salumi in Seattle, renowned for its artisanal approach to charcuterie, offers a superior roast beef sandwich. It is so good that the late, world-famous tastemaker Anthony Bourdain worshipped this sandwich shop, especially for its exceptional hand-crafted, cured meats.
Salumi's pricing reflects the premium nature of its offerings. While on the higher end price-wise, the family-owned establishment's sandwiches deliver exceptional value given the quality and uniqueness of the ingredients. Salumi is a popular lunch destination, so expect crowds, particularly on weekends. It also offers takeout options. Located in high-spirited Pioneer Square, Salumi is not only a culinary gem but also a convenient stop for those exploring the area's art galleries, historic architecture, and other attractions.
Salumi(206) 621-8772404 Occidental Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98104
Sam LaGrassa's in Boston is a true standout in the city's competitive sandwich scene, renowned for its exquisitely crafted roast beef sandwiches. These creations are a blend of tender, perfectly cooked beef and fresh, high-quality ingredients, resulting in a sandwich that's both flavorful and filling. If you have one for lunch, you probably won't need to eat again until the next day.
The atmosphere at Sam LaGrassa's is vibrant and welcoming, combining the efficiency of a buzzy city eatery with the warmth of a family-run business. Reservations are not required and takeaway sandwiches ensure you can stay on the go — and satiated. Whether you're a long-time Boston resident or a first-time visitor, a meal at Sam LaGrassa's is a must.
Sam LaGrassa's(617) 357-686144 Province St, Boston, Massachusetts 02108
Ratto's International Deli & Market
Ratto's International Deli & Market in Oakland continues to carve a niche for itself in the East Bay's culinary landscape, transcending the realm of ordinary deli fare with its exceptional roast beef sandwiches. These sandwiches, a perfect blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern culinary flair, deliver a savory and fulfilling dining experience. Not only that, but Ratto's strikes a balance between the charm of a classic deli and the vibrancy of a contemporary restaurant.
To fully enjoy Ratto's, plan for a visit later in the day. The restaurant also offers takeout and delivery options. As an added perk, Ratto's presents an excellent value, especially given the high standard of their ingredients and the skill evident in their sandwich-making.
Ratto's(510) 832-6503821 Washington St, Oakland, California 94607
Mile End Deli
Mile End Deli reimagines the traditional Montreal-style deli with a Brooklyn twist, creating a unique culinary experience that resonates with both deli purists and contemporary food lovers. The restaurant also boasts the coziness of a traditional Jewish deli, and it even makes its bread.
Mile End Deli offers its gourmet sandwiches at a mid-range price, reflecting the premium quality of its ingredients and the care put into each dish. It's a winsome choice for both a casual lunch and a more indulgent dining experience. The deli is primarily known for its breakfast and lunch offerings but caters to the dinner crowd too. It also provides both dine-in and takeout options.
Expect plenty of smoked meats at this eatery. The Montreal smoked meat sandwich, with smoked beef brisket, mustard, and rye, or Bubbie's brisket sandwich are the way to go but, truthfully, all the sandwiches are good here.
Mile End Deli(646) 494-950897 Hoyt St, Brooklyn, New York 11217
Meat enthusiasts love Lardo in Portland, Oregon. The name, an all-too-familiar synonym for fat, shouldn't turn you off. Rather, it's a call to indulge in one of life's finest pleasures: the joyful consumption of good, fatty beef made well and accompanied by delicious ingredients. But the term "lardo" is more than that. It also refers to a long-underrated cut of pork salami. Lardo's brings it back to the forefront in a contemporary style alongside the restaurant's delectable beef sandwich creations.
It's a good idea to check the restaurant's operating hours, especially if you plan to visit during peak meal times. The atmosphere at Lardo is hip and lively, appropriate given Portland's dynamic culinary culture.
Pair your sandwich with crispy and fatty fries that won't make you feel guilty for eating them because they're that good. Then wash it all down with a craft beer.
Lardo(503) 241-24901205 SW Washington St, Portland, Oregon 97205
Brennan & Carr
Brennan & Carr in Brooklyn earns many accolades for its distinctive approach to the classic roast beef sandwich. This eatery stands out for its unique method of dipping bread in a flavorful broth, resulting in a sandwich experience that is delicious and emblematic of Brooklyn's culinary innovation.
The atmosphere at Brennan & Carr is unpretentious and welcoming, with a focus on the rich flavors and hearty servings. It's the perfect setting for those seeking a traditional, no-frills dining experience that prioritizes taste and quality. Indeed, the place has been serving the local community opening in 1938. Though the emphasis remains its signature roast beef sandwiches, the menu has since grown.
The restaurant is an ideal choice for a filling and affordable meal, whether for lunch or dinner. And, though primarily a dine-in establishment, Brennan & Carr also offers takeout options.
Brennan & Carr(718) 996-21313432 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11229
As the name suggests, this restaurant with multiple locations in Texas strives to use fresh, locally sourced ingredients in their sandwiches, which shouldn't be too hard in the case of a roast beef sandwich, especially given Texas' love of beef. Indeed, the sandwiches here would make any Texas proud: packed with enough meat to feed a large family, a single sandwich is sure to be both filling and tasty.
The high-low settings of this restaurant also set it apart from other sandwich joints (though it also serves other types of food). The decor is modern, comfortable, and almost sleek. And don't be shy about ordering a glass of fine wine with your sandwich. The pairing works surprisingly well.
Local Foods is open most mornings from 10:45 AM to 8 pm.
(713) 255-4440Multiple locations
Tommy DiNic's, nestled in the heart of Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market, has perfected the art of sandwich-making, with their roast beef sandwich being a standout. The restaurant slow-roasts its meat, ensuring every slice is tender and flavorful.
Typical of a popular market eatery, Tommy DiNic's gives off an energetic, spirited vibe enjoyed by both locals and tourists. DiNic's offers its delicious sandwiches at reasonable prices, providing an accessible gourmet experience. Order a sandwich on the spot, for takeout, or visit their Gold Belly page to buy one from the other side of the country.
The sandwich counter-style eatery doesn't take reservations but you can order ahead of time online for pickup or delivery.
Tommy DiNic's(215) 923-6175Reading Terminal Market, 1136 Arch St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107
Buffalo, New York, is famous for its chicken wings — a significant contribution to America's culinary prowess. Evidently, the restaurant Schwabl's thought Buffalo could stand to be the home of yet another gastronomic giant. So it brought us the beef on weck sandwich, made with medium-rare beef that is crispy on the edges and paired with a caraway seed bun (prepared by a local bakery), potato salad, pickled beets, coleslaw, and horseradish.
If you think this is a new invention, guess again. The restaurant has been operating continuously since 1837, during which time it has pretty much always served this amazing beef sandwich along with some typical German fare. The old-fashioned eatery opens for lunch and stays open until late. While indoor seating is available (no reservations necessary), it's another sandwich joint where grab-and-go is preferable.
Schwabl's(716) 675-2333789 Center Rd, West Seneca, New York 14224
While any sandwich at Katz's Deli is going to be amazing, especially whichever one Meg Ryan ordered in "When Harry Met Sally," we're here to tell you that the beef sandwiches are well worth the trip and live up to the hype. Pick from the roast beef, Reuben, corned beef, or brisket sandwiches, and you'll be treated to high-quality meats and plenty of it between the bread slices.
This no-frills eatery has lots of indoor seating, though it can get quite loud. This typical Jewish deli is a famous New York institution that attracts tourists and locals alike looking for a good, affordable meal — a practice that is becoming more and more challenging in New York these days. And whatever you do, try the pickles. They're delicious, traditional, and they'll go well with your beef sandwich.
Katz's Deli(212) 254-2246205 E Houston St, New York, New York 10002
Tommy's Joynt, like many restaurants, fell on some tough times during the pandemic. Back in 2020, during the height of it, graffiti covered the sign of this San Francisco sandwich institution and the phone lines had been disconnected, leading many people to believe the place had closed for good.
Luckily, Tommy's Joynt bounced back stronger than ever, thanks, in part, to its delicious roast beef sandwich, made with hot hand-carved beef. Choose a sourdough roll, whole wheat bun, white bread, rye, or gluten-free bread to hold your meat, and pair it all with BBQ sauce, gravy, or the meat's juices. For hungry days, don't hold back on the addition of Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and/or lettuce.
On weekends, this sandwich joint, which also serves cocktails and doesn't accept reservations, stays open until midnight.
Tommy's Joynt(415) 949-03991101 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, California 94109
Kenny & Ziggy's
If you're seeking a true Jewish deli outside New York, the land of Jewish delis par excellence, look no further. Not only will this Houston treasure deliver the beef but the staff will also help you get set up for the Jewish holidays and even for sitting shiva, if necessary.
The sandwich menu is long and plentiful, and everything on it automatically comes on rye, though you can ask for a different type of bread if you prefer. Pair it with a potato salad or go wild and try the cucumber salad. And for the ultimate beef experience, try the prime roast beef sandwich. And if nothing specific on the menu appeals to you, just create your own sandwich! You're more than welcome to.
Old-school seating in a large hall makes reservations unnecessary. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, walk-ins or takeaways are always welcome.
Kenny & Ziggy's713-871-88831743 Post Oak Blvd, Houston, Texas 77056
Read the original article on Tasting Table.